Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elias Hicks School

More Thoughts on the Elias Hicks School 

Here are some updates from me on this exciting new project.

You see, during the 55 city tour I kept working on this idea, or these ideas kept coming to me, kind of a mix of both. Why not start an experimental college that is both spiritual and economic, that is dedicated to teaching people to transform the world, but do it using entrepreneurial, creative, revolutionary, nonviolent tools?

So, I had a good conversation yesterday with Jerry Mintz of AERO, the Alternative Education Resource Organization. Jerry teaches online classes that teach people how to start new schools. I'm planning on taking his class, starting in October.

Also, this Summer on tour I read "Black Mountain: An Experiment in Community" by Martin Duberman. I reviewed the book for Amazon, here. 

A sample of that review:

The best part of the book is the first third, the Black Mountain community was at its strongest. Spontaneous concerts were given on pianos scattered around the campus. People were painting and drawing all the time, led by star teacher Joseph Albers (a strong disciplinarian, formerly of the Bauhaus). People new to the theatre were pulled into doing plays - theatre was almost a cultural requirement. It was widely acknowledged that doing theatre helped people grow. This College was an immersion in constant intellectual stimulation, not a retreat, not a party. It was a place of real practical knowledge, a place of beauty and wisdom taking on human flesh. It was an important step forward.

I would also like to point out that in my previous blog post about this topic, the best material comes in the dialogue I had with people in the comments. To Kevin Barrett, I said,

I think we could create a wildly nonconformist new culture of innovative and life-giving enterprise. You see, I am not trying to get a job in an established university, and I am not trying to train people to have a certified official MBA. I do know that I can train people to change their thinking about money, and the role of business and production in the peace & truth revolution. An MBA is expensive, it saddles the student with debt, and the student becomes forced to work for a mega-corporation or mega-financial institution, just to service that debt. But a school that dared to step outside the system, and yet teach the same skills, would create a whole new generation of venture creators: ones who could afford to pay it forward. We need to create situations by where people have the power and ability to be more generous.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

William Pepper's Statement to the 9/11 Truth Movement

I am writing this from the home of James Hufferd, Ph.D. Hufferd is a national treasure - he's the coordinator of the "9/11 Grassroots Organizers" list and runs an active local 9/11 group here in Central Iowa. He was eager to show me the latest open letter he solicited from attorney William Pepper, to the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Pepper is author of Act of State which is an expose of the US Government's involvement in the assassination of Martin Luther King. King was friendly with Pepper, and Act of State is written with passion and solid research. As an attorney, Pepper won a jury trial on behalf of the King family that proved their was a conspiracy to kill MLK.  
As James Hufferd bloged, "Pepper has represented Sirhan Sirhan and other high-profile political accusees ....and was active in the NYC CAN case. He authored this statement, providing a focus and recommendation for the 911 Truth movement, on request."
Stay tuned, I will try to interview Pepper for this blog, based on the hopeful statements made below.

Attorney William Pepper's 

 As one who has supported and followed the 911 Truth Movement, largely from the sidelines I have been asked to submit some observations about the current status and potential future direction of the effort. As a result of my detachment from the ongoing activities, thus being unaware of events in various areas of the country, I am not at all clear that my views may be as relevant as those of others who have been more closely involved.
At the outset, allow me to express my respect and admiration for the many individuals –architects, engineers, lawyers, theologians, educators, researchers, documentarians and other professionals, along with victims’ family members, former military officials and ordinary citizens who have kept the search for the truth alive for over a decade. Their tenacious commitment is precisely what is required of citizens of a Republic when it faces governmental obstruction manifested in the blatant refusal to provide answers to questions and issues ignored by the official investigation.
One of the difficulties that this, and any other such Movement faces is the fact that its member/activists have often greatly differing degrees of political awareness. This is bound to affect policy and practice. The process of radicalization of committed activists is a gradual one and results in some individuals seeing the events of 911 as a single issue rather than being a part of an ongoing multi faceted effort to exercise control over the lives of the citizens and the fruits of the earth’s natural resources earmarked for the profitable use by the few. In this respect, an alliance with the Occupy Movement is long overdue. I know that sections of that Movement (which itself is suffering from fragmentation and loss of direction, as well as infiltration and subversion – the latter may also be considered by the 911 Movement) have had an ongoing interest in the events of 911.
My sense also is that the Movement could benefit from a more unified approach and that the many activities which are going on need a coordinated public relations presence. Mainstream media will continue to ignore these efforts and fragmentation aids and abets public ignorance. When one becomes aware that the left/liberal or more progressive media also has been co-opted and that some of the more illustrious commentators have become gatekeepers, the problem is clearly compounded. This reality needs to be addressed by some in the Movement who have media experience.
At the end of the day, I believe that the forces of power are simply waiting out the 911 Truth Movement, and that all of the books, articles and documentaries will become part of the dust heap of history. That would be a tragic end of this significant effort.
I have long believed that the memorialization of all of the good work and factual revelations would only be historically perpetuated and possibly result in justice for the families of victims through the commencement of a well planned legal action brought in a viable Federal District Court Jurisdiction. The cost would be enormous; the results, probably worth every penny.
With respect to all those who have previously tried to go this route, the efforts have been flawed, in one way or another. The experience is a valuable teacher. I believe that critical witnesses are still available and that the evidence has continued to be developed. I hope that these thoughts, or some of them, may be of use to the Movement and the very special individuals who have kept it alive. I am humbled by their struggle.
W.F. Pepper
Biography from WilliamPepper.com:

Dr. William F. Pepper

William Francis Pepper is a barrister in the United Kingdom and admitted to the bar in numerous jurisdictions in the United States of America. His primary work is international commercial law. He has represented governments in the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Asia. Today, Pepper represents Sirhan Sirhan, the gunman convicted in the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968.

Bill Pepper was a friend of Martin Luther King in the last year of his life. Some years after King's death, Bill Pepper went on to represent James Earl Ray in his guilty plea, and subsequent conviction. Pepper believes that Ray was framed by the federal government and that King was killed by a conspiracy that involved the FBI, the CIA, the military, the Memphis police and organized crime figures from New Orleans and Memphis. He later represented James Earl Ray in a televised mock trial in an attempt to get Ray the trial that he never had.

He then represented the King family in a wrongful death civil trial, King family vs. Loyd Jowers and "other unknown co-conspirators." During a trial that lasted four weeks Bill produced over seventy witnesses. Jowers, testifying by deposition, stated that James Earl Ray was a scapegoat, and not involved in the assassination. Jowers testified that Memphis police officer Earl Clark fired the fatal shots. On December 8, 1999, the Memphis jury found Jowers responsible and found that the assassination plot included also "governmental agencies." The jury took less than an hour to find in favor of the King family for the requested sum of $100.

William Pepper is heavily involved in Human Rights Law, for a time convening the International Human Rights Seminar at Oxford University, during which time individuals such as Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, accepted invitations to address the seminar. He lives in the US currently -not primarily- but travels frequently to England.